China is famous for its fake market but also for stealing trademarks and the Chinese Court support that.
Michael Jordan is an American former professionnel basketball player. He played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association, mostly known as NBA.
He got his popularity thanks to his prolific scoring which makes him emerged as a league star. He is also really famous because of his leaping ability, by performing slam dunks from the free throw line. Throughout his basketball career, he got a few nicknames such as “Air Jordan” or “His Airness”. People also think about him as the best defensive players in basketball. His popularity does not stop in the United States, it goes all over the world.
The NBA is not only a basketball association, it is also a clothes and shoes store. Indeed, the NBA Store is a series of officially licensed retailers which sell merchandise for the National Basketball Association (NBA). The first store opened in 1998 in New York Fifth Avenue. Through this NBA store, basketball fans can buy their favorite player’s jersey or merchandise from other brands such as Nike or Reebook.
But you can get other Jordan’s products. Indeed, Michael Jordan made a collaboration with the famous shoes brand Nike and create line under the name of “Air Jordan”. This Air Jordan brand is a brand of shoes and athletic clothing which has been designed and produced by Michael Jordan, so owned by him. The shoes, informally referred to in the plural as Jordans or simply Js, were first produced in 1984 and released for public consumption in 1985. This brand is really popular worldwide… but a Chinese company stole his name without his agreement.
MJ sued Qiaodan Sports
In the last years, a Chinese company stole Michael Jordan’s name to make profit. Indeed, this enterprise transcribed MJ’s name in Chinese, “Qiaodan” and added Sports at the end of the name brand. Thus, this company sells sports merchandise under Michael Jordan name and also by using his logo and his famous jersey number “23”. It succeeded in opening around 5700 stores around China. But none of this has been accepted by the concerned party.
According to Michael Jordan, “When you have your name, it is your DNA,” that is the reason why, when he heard about this company, he “[felt] the need to protect [his] name, [his] identity and the Chinese consumers”. Thus, in 2012, Michael Jordan decided to sue this company based in the Southern Fujian province and asked $183.000 in damages. However, earlier this year, the Chinese Court took a decision in favor of Qiaodan Sports. Plus, more recently, it’s the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court which agreed that decision. On the advice of his attorneys, MJ “attend to appeal to the Supreme People’s Court for retrial”.
Qiaodan sued MJ
A situational turnaround, in 2013, Qiaodan Sports decided to sue Michael Jordan for harming the company’s reputation because of his complaint. However, on the opposite of the American former basketball player, the Chinese enterprise asked $8 million in damages.
Now, the decision of both Chinese company’s complaint and MJ’s appeal are waiting, but the hope that Mr. Jordan will win the trial is slim.
American trademarks always lose in Chinese Court
As I said earlier, this year, the Chinese Court’s decision in this case has been decided in favor of the Chinese company. And this is not the first time it happened.
In 2012, Apple has to pay $60 million to a Chinese company that owned the iPad trademark. And recently, it is the turn of the US shoemaker New Balance to lose a trademark case against a Chinese enterprise.
China is famous for its fake market but if most of the time they copy by changing a small part of the original trademark, sometimes they don’t at all and use the original name without any fear. It happens many time and it will happen again later. Plus, if that happen to anyone and that you want to go to trial because of that, you should know that you will have a slim chance to win. It seems that the Chinese Court always decides in favor of the Chinese company. In addition to lose the trial, you might have to pay damages to that Chinese company. Michael Jordan has a good relationship with its Chinese fans but by wanting to protect his identity and his name, he might lose million of dollars.
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